Pepper Rodgers has a tiger in Halfback John Riggins, four talented receivers, a brand-new offensive alignment and (thank goodness) a sense of humor. Pepper's Kansas Jayhawks concluded their 1-9 season with a 69-21 loss to Missouri. When asked if he thought the Tigers ran up the score because Dan Devine was mad at him, Rodgers replied, "It's not true. On the sidelines during the game I held up the peace sign and he gave half of it back to me."
Floyd Gass began his career at Oklahoma State with surprising success last year—the Cowboys managed a 5-5 record. This fall he has excellent ballcarriers to compensate for an inexperienced defense and to insure some more memorable upsets.
All Iowa State has put together are two new buildings.
Appropriately enough, the WAC showdown for second place, behind Arizona State, may be a battle between Cowboys and Indians, and this year, considering the recent skirmishes on Alcatraz and Ellis islands, looks like a big one for Indians. The Redskins of Utah, led by Bill Meek, the conference's 1969 Coach of the Year, even have a chance to win the WAC crown. Meek has 28 returning lettermen (nine of them starters from last year's offensive team), including Defensive Halfback Norm Thompson, who last year had five interceptions, running back three of them for touchdowns. Utah's big question mark is Quarterback Gordon (Scooter) Long-mire, who won a letter as a sophomore at Michigan State, but is lacking in experience after a year as a redshirt.
The Wyoming Cowboys have experience problems, too. There are only six seniors on the top offensive and defensive units, although one of the seniors is All-America Bob Jacobs, the nation's top kicker last fall with 76 points and an NCAA single-season record of 18 field goals. Sophomores, including Guard Ron Voris and Defensive Back Eddie Schmidt, may be the key to Cowboy success.
Arizona, with 33 lettermen, is also a conference threat. Last year's multitude of sophomores is now a year older, and Coach Bob Weaver, whose first season with the Wildcats ended with a dismal 3-7 record, says, "I'm optimistic."
There's not much room for optimism in the rest of the WAC. The Miners of Texas El Paso could dig up a surprise or two, but Colorado State, New Mexico and Brigham Young will have a hard time ducking the flying arrows, bullets and footballs.
East Carolina's Clarence Stasavich has switched from coach to full-time athletic director, and with him goes the last major college remnant of that ancient gridiron ploy, the single wing. Born of strength and cunning some 60 years ago, it was already a rarity by the late '40s. Now in the second year of football's second century, it is extinct.